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Egypt’s FMD outbreak reaches Gaza, threatening entire Middle East

Posted by feww on May 2, 2012

Outbreak of SAT2 strain of FMD virus in Egypt and Libya reaches Gaza Strip

Sick animals detected in Rafah, a Gaza Strip town bordering Egypt, have tested positive for the SAT2 strain of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus, following the February outbreak in Egypt and Libya, FAO said.

“The SAT2 variant is new to the region, meaning that animals do not have any acquired resistance to it.”

FMD Virus. Source: Virginia Bioinformatics Institute.

FMD  is  highly infectious and affects all cloven-hoofed animals, including sheep, cattle, buffalo, goats and pigs, causing serious production losses, and can be lethal, especially in younger animals.

When this shorthorn heifer in the United Kingdom became afflicted with foot-and-mouth disease, (a) she began to drool, and (b) virus-filled blisters developed in her mouth and at the junction where skin connects with the hoof walls.
Source: LLNL

“Diseases simply do not respect international boundaries, and if FMD SAT2 reaches deeper into the Middle East it could spread throughout vast areas, threatening the Gulf countries – even southern and eastern Europe, and perhaps beyond” said Juan Lubroth, FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer and head of the organization’s Animal Health Service.

About 10-million sheep, pigs, and cows were slaughtered during the 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom, which caused more than $5 billion in losses to the food and agriculture sector and even greater losses in tourism.

The foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus consists of a single strand of RNA packed inside a tough protein coat. The hardy virus can live 28 days in cool soil and up to 180 days in a slurry of cow dung. It can be spread directly from animal to animal, or it can be transported indirectly by a person or vehicle traveling from one farm to another—for example, with mud containing the virus caked on boots or tires. Livermore’s Pam Hullinger, a foreign animal disease diagnostician and veterinary epidemiologist, notes that FMD is so contagious, an animal can become infected after contact with as few as 10 virus particles.
Although the U.S. has not had an FMD outbreak since 1929, it is endemic in many parts of the world. In 2000 and 2001 a Pan-Asian strain caused outbreaks in Korea, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands. Source: LLNL

A SAT2 virus strain was recently reported in cattle in Bahrain’s quarantine center, FAO reported.

FMD Related Links

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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